Actor swaps evil empire role to play Paul Dacre in play - Press Gazette

Actor swaps role as member of evil empire to play Paul Dacre in Tim Walker-penned play

Paul Dacre play

Distinguished actor Andrew Woodall, who played imperial recruitment officer Drawd Munbrin in Solo: A Star Wars Story, has been lined up to portray Paul Dacre in a new play.

The recently reappointed DMG Media editor in chief, and former Daily Mail editor, features in a new play by Tim Walker called Bloody Difficult Women which tells the story of Gina Miller’s clash with Theresa May over Brexit.

Miller brought a successful court case against the British government over its authority to implement Brexit without the approval of Parliament.

Former Telegraph diary editor Walker writes a weekly theatre review column for The New European.

He told Press Gazette: “I nearly had a heart attack the other day when a guy phoned up and screamed at me ‘Dacre here, what the f*** are you doing putting me in a f****** play, you c***?’ I’d worked for Paul for more than a decade and was absolutely certain it was him. No doubt at all. I started to explain myself and then there was laughter at the other end of the line. It turned out to be Andrew and he explained he was calling up asking for some tips about how to play him. Recovering my composure, I could only reply he had the voice spot on.”

When editing, Dacre was reputed to be a fan of using colourful expletives when giving colleagues feedback on their work.

Walker added: “There are three living characters in my play in addition to Paul – there is Theresa May and also Gina and Alan Miller. I am mindful of my responsibilities to all of them. I may not of course agree with some of them politically, but I have not made the mistake of seeing any of them in terms of black and white.

“If you do that, you are dealing in propaganda, and that I think makes for very boring, hectoring theatre. I have tried to get across the humanity in all of them. It was Chekhov who said ‘There are no good people and no bad people in my plays, only people.'”

Woodall joins Jessica Turner and Amara Karan, who play the two lead roles in the play. Bloody Difficult Women starts the Riverside Studios in London next month.

Dacre rarely speaks publicly. His two speeches at the Society of Editors conference, in 2008 and in 2018, and his appearance before the Leveson Inquiry are among the very few exceptions.

But Channel 4 has promised much more Dacre than we have ever seen before in the form of three 60-minute documentaries fronted by the man himself called “The World According to Paul Dacre”.

At the time of writing Rogan Productions and Channel 4 were staying tight-lipped about the progress of the project with Press Gazette enquiries about its status going, so far, unanswered.

The project, first announced in 2019, was due to air last year.

Paul Dacre pictured top next to Andrew Woodall (credit Getty for Woodall picture)

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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette